Few local restaurants break through norms and reach the rarefied culinary realm upheld by the likes of Restaurant Andre, Jaan and Joel Robuchon, lauded for their delicately prepared premium produce served with equal parts military precision and artistic beauty.
Corner House doesn’t only tick these boxes – the 70-seater restaurant, which takes over Au Jardin at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, nails them. Chef and co-owner Jason Tan, who helmed the acclaimed Sky on 57 at Marina Bay Sands, casts the spotlight on the humble vegetable in what he brands “gastro-botanica”, instead of relegating it to mere garnish.
Unlike Au Jardin, Corner House heightens its botanical heritage. Pictures of the late botanist Edred John Henry Corner – he used to live here in the early 1900s – and his plant sketches dot the restaurant walls. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer lavish garden views.
Tan, 32, has honed his skills at luminaries like Les Amis, Le Saint Julien Restaurant and Macau’s Robuchon au Dome. But it is here that he gets to interpret produce in unexpected ways, like his favourite vegetable, the sweet Cevennes onion from south-central France, which is done four ways. A lightly fried dehydrated slice gives crunch, while a luscious onion confit is presented in three different styles: in a roasted hollowed onion shell with sous vide egg and black truffles, on a round filo pastry tart, and as a broth infused with earl grey tea.
Another stellar dish is the Carabinero Prawn, a robust-tasting variety caught in the Mediterranean Sea, steamed and then assembled with seasonal tomatoes prepared various ways – from a sorbet to a punchy marinate of Thai basil and plum. Oscietre caviar elevates the dish with a savoury touch. Well-heeled diners may prefer the coveted Beluga but its endangered status is an antithesis to Tan’s commitment to sustainability.
Such meticulous detail is what makes Corner House a contender to join the big league. It’s clear that after years of being in the shadows of his mentors, Jason Tan has come into his own.
1 Cluny Road, Nassim Gate, Singapore Botanic Gardens.